Continuing to Write About What I Don’t Know

marilyn-meredith-3Marilyn Meredith has had so many books published, she’s lost track of the count, but it’s getting near 40. She lives in a community similar to the fictional mountain town of Bear Creek, the big difference being that Bear Creek is a thousand feet higher in the mountains. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, and is a board member of Public Safety Writers of America.

Writers are often told to write about what they know, but from the start I wrote about what I didn’t know, including:

Astral Projection

Police Procedure

Native American Mysticism

Life on an Indian Reservation


Killing People in Diverse Manners

Police Departments

University of California at Santa Barbara’s campus

and I could go on and on.


I’ve also written plenty about what I do know such as:

Day care centers (worked in them.)

Residential care homes (Ran my own.)

People’s Relationships (Have had and observed plenty.)

Police Funerals (Attended my son-in-law’s)

Mountain Communities (Live in one and still visit many others.)

Beach Communities (Lived in one and still visit many others.)

Earthquakes (Been through lots—big and little.)

And again, I could go on and on.

Though it’s easiest to write what you know, these days it isn’t all that hard to find out what you don’t know.

I’ve done plenty of research through books, libraries, and of course the Internet. Places I haven’t been, I’ve researched and I’ve visited. I’ve interviewed people who live in places I have never been. I’ve gone on ride-alongs, and I’ve many friends who were or are still in law enforcement. I live near and visit a nearby Indian reservation.

As I’ve often told people, you can find out almost anything on the Internet.

Add all this to an active imagination, and that’s how I write about what I don’t know. My latest book has a lot about forest fires and fighting them. I am fortunate to have a good friend who is a fire-fighter and shared a lot of information with me for my latest book.


seldom-traveledSeldom Traveled


The tranquility of the mountain community of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Tempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.

Available where all books are sold, or directly from the publisher:

New Contest:

Winners will be randomly picked from those leaving the most comments on the blog posts. Each winner can choose one of the earlier books in the series as either a print book or e-book.

Headed over to tomorrow.


20 thoughts on “Continuing to Write About What I Don’t Know

  1. Yes, and that mix of new adventures and the familiar, I think, Marilyn, are what make your novels so enjoyable. I always feel comfortable with Tempe (all your characters) but also know they are going on a new adventure every book, and they’re taking me along! Enjoyed this post!


  2. I totally agree that you can’t just write what you know. My life is so boring I would never write about anything if I stuck with that! And you excel at writing both, which is what makes your books so interesting.


    • Hi, Holli, I’ve read a few books where the author did write about their life–and it was boring. Aren’t we glad we have big imaginations and are inclined to do a bit of research?


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